05th Dec2018

‘Slay Belles’ Review

by Alain Elliott

Stars: Barry Bostwick, Kristina Klebe, Susan Slaughter, Diane Salinger, Richard Moll, Hannah Wagner | Written by Jessica Luhrssen, Dan Walker | Directed by Spooky Dan Walker

slay-belles-poster

I can’t believe no-one has used this title for a horror Christmas film before! But here it is with a new Dread Central Presents… release, Slay Belles; which follows three cosplaying YoutTubers, who film themselves searching abandoned places, who decide to search ‘Santa Land’ on Christmas Eve. They soon find this is a much more real land than they were expecting.

Slay Belles does take a bit of time to get going. It doesn’t take long to explain what the three group of women are and what their characters are like but we get a lot of time spent just following them around, not doing much of interest. Thankfully once they get to Santa Land, things liven up. They are attacked by Krampus and saved by Santa Claus! As you can imagine, the film instantly becomes more interesting.

One of the big highlights of Slay Belles are the practical effects. Firstly with the creature design and make-up effects for Krampus. It looks fantastic. Big and scary and just effects that are so much better than half-assed CGI. This is how you do practical make-up effects right. And on top of that, when the gore starts happening the over-the-top practical blood and gore are not only fun but also look really good. It’s refreshing to see. I am by no means against CGI but these effects just made me smile. The scenes in which the gore and blood happen are also really entertaining and when Slay Belles is at its best. These effects are perfect with the tone of the movie which definitely has a comedic edge.

The comedy is a bit hit and miss for my tastes though. To an extreme, in that at times I was shaking my head because the joke was so bad but at other times I was laughing out loud. Performances are fine but they are very much b-movie style performances. They are fun and without any major problems. Are instantly recognised Kristina Klebe from Tales of Halloween and Don’t Kill It, while I have to admit I would have never guessed Barry Bostwick, who plays Santa, was Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He is probably the highlight of the acting performances though.

As far as being a Christmas movie, for obvious reasons, Slay Belles very much feels like one. It has Santa and Mrs Claus, as well as Krampus, who is getting almost as popular as his arch nemesis! There’s Christmas outfits, candy canes, festive music, while my only real complaint is the lack of snow. Santa Land being in a dry-looking forest doesn’t feel too festive.

It’s definitely one of the better films that feature Krampus and as far as fun, silly B-movie Christmas horror, fans don’t have much of a choice. A long with A Cadaver Christmas and maybe Santa’s Slay, Slay Belles can be added to your yearly watch list.

*** 3/5

Slay Belles is out on VOD now from Epic Pictures/Dread Central Presents…

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